- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Coast Guard Commandant Paul F. Zukunft says that the U.S. is essentially ceding the Arctic’s emerging trade routes and natural resources to Russia.

Warming temperatures have opened up the trade routes and access to natural resources, which Russia is taking advantage of with its increased military presences and 27 icebreakers. The U.S. has two icebreakers.

“We’re not even in the same league as Russia right now,” said Adm. Zukunft, who oversees 88,000 personnel, Newsweek reported. “We’re not playing in this game at all.”

Fran Ulmer, chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, told Newsweek that if the U.S. wants to devote resources to the region this late in the game, then it will be difficult to catch up. Mr. Ulmer said “it takes years,” to build a single icebreaker, with each one costing roughly $1 billion.

The magazine reported that in addition to the resources Russia is sending to the Arctic, it also has filed claims with the U.N. to claim an additional 200 miles of land extending off its continental shelf. The claims will then be examined by U.N. scientists operating under a treaty called the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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